Stories / Impact

Statement on the House of Representatives Farm Bill

JBF Editors

May 17, 2024


Group of chefs and farmers on the steps to the Capitol in Washington, DC
Photo: Andrew Noh

As part of our Climate Solutions for Restaurant Survival Campaign, yesterday we were joined in Washington, D.C. by award-winning chefs from across the country and a leading organic farmer for meetings with the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the White House, and members of Congress and their staff.

Based on those meetings, we are concerned about the House of Representatives version of the farm bill, particularly the provisions regarding conservation funding for climate-smart agriculture and proposals to weaken and cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The House farm bill diverts funds away from the most critical conservation practices that fight climate change and help producers continue to provide affordable goods. Unmitigated climate change threatens the very survival of the independent restaurant industry, which provides millions of jobs, generates hundreds of billions in revenue, and supports local agriculture and businesses. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, floods, drought, fire, and shifts in agricultural patterns are driving up costs for an already vulnerable industry. This could lead to layoffs, or worse, restaurant closures.

We were also concerned to hear about the proposal to weaken and cut SNAP. This critical program addresses food insecurity and promotes access to healthy and nutritious food for all Americans. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities and others in need have access to the nutrition they need to thrive. Furthermore, by increasing the purchasing power for certain households, SNAP strengthens local economies by stimulating demand for nutritious foods, bolstering revenues for farmers, grocers, and food retailers. In this way, SNAP serves as a powerful tool for promoting food security and economic vitality across communities. This program must be protected, not weakened.

Chefs Allison Vick, Elizabeth Falkner, Joy Crump, Karma Lee, Kayla Abe and Rob Rubba and farmer Emma Jagoz joined the James Beard Foundation for the meetings. The group met with Secretary Vilsack, and two leading champions for climate smart conservation funding, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. They also met with Congresswomen Spanberger, Congresswoman DelBene, Congressman Don Beyers and key staff at the White House, in Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ office and on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

As discussions around the farm bill progress, the James Beard Foundation urges policymakers to prioritize conservation funding and a sustainable food system, while ensuring that all communities have access to healthy, nourishing food. We stand ready to engage in constructive dialogue and collaboration to advance these shared goals.


We need your voice! JBF and the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Working Group have produced a letter urgently calling on Congress to take immediate action to address the impacts of climate change in this year’s farm bill. We want hundreds of chefs and farmers to add their names to it. Sign now.

Learn more about our Climate Solutions for Restaurant Survival Campaign.